Hot Off The Back Of My Camera

Between paid assignments I’m working to expand my portfolio with personal shoots, so having spent the entire morning editing and delivering a job for a client from a shoot in Surrey yesterday (more about that in a future post), I grabbed my gear and got down to H&B Tyres in Frome for a mini portrait session.

I’d popped into H&B previously to check that it would be ok/possible to do some photos as and when I was able, and was given the OK by the owner, Mike as well as a green light from a couple of the tyre fitters there.

I wanted to use the opportunity to take portraits of these guys because A) The staff area is a fascinating jumble of car parts and machinery and B) I wanted to take “formal” portraits in a setting I don’t typically find myself in. Most of what I shoot happens in nice, clean offices with predictable lighting against a plain or office backdrop. I wanted a bit more of a challenge to see what would come of it.

From the shoot, which finished just over an hour ago, I’ve pulled one image for this blog post. I think one or two more may well find their way into my portfolio galleries.

In the meantime, meet Donald who, as it happens, is a fan of Don McCullin’s work. I think Don the tyre fitter’s pose might well have been influenced by Don the photographer’s work.

Swift Response


Pressure of  work and personal commitments this week means I was considering not writing anything today, but I know if I don’t at least acknowledge the Jason SheldonTaylor SwiftApple debate I’ll receive several emails and messages from people asking if I’ve seen it and asking what I think, not that I think I’m the most qualified person to comment on this, not being primarily a concert photographer.

So my response is this; yes I’ve seen the debate. Jason has a good point which will be widely misconstrued by many as some kind of parasitical greed. But that’s the internet for you, and just as I suspect Jason’s blog stats look like a server somewhere is about to burst into flames, “the internet” will move on tomorrow or the next day and things will return to normal for him. Only I hope normal means better, with fewer ill-conceived contracts restricting what a talented photographer can do with their work.

Pink Elephants at Open Farm Sunday

The cliché of all clichés states that you should never work with children and animals, but I disagree. They can make excellent subjects and on Sunday 7th June I got to work with both as it was Open Farm Sunday, a national event and an opportunity for families to see the inner workings of farms all over the country.

I was booked to attend Meadowlea Farm in Somerset to capture a flavour of the day for sponsors ABP. The images were destined for press release and ABPs website and internal communications, so I needed to get a good variety of shots showing interactions between families, children, the farmers and animals.

I think my favourite shots of the day show a delightful young lad, Tom, doing some colouring in with one of ABP’s representatives, Robyn. The table was set up in one of the farm sheds, I just had it pulled forward enough to get the best of the daylight on them, then let them get going with pencils and crayons. After a few action shots I wanted them looking into my lens, so I told Tom if he looked carefully and smiled nicely, he might see the pink elephant that lives in my camera. It did the trick and Tom gave me a whole bunch of brilliant smiles, it was one of those moments you can’t help smiling at yourself. And of course Tom could see the pink elephant, children always can.

Fancy a Challenge?

Last week was huge fun as I was booked to cover the IRTE Skills Challenge 2015 for the Society of Operations Engineers. The event, hosted by S&B Automotive Academy in Bristol spanned four days and involved teams of bus and coach technicians tackling challenges from diagnosing electrical faults in a wiring loom to repairing a metal box section in the bodyshop.

It was full-on and all-go as I set about making sure I had a good selection of photos of each of the 50+ competitors over the course of the event, as well as group photos, detail shots and general views.

The pictures will be used on the SOE website, on social media and in press releases and you can see an edited selection of the pictures here.

This was my first year covering the event which has been running for 5 years now, but hopefully I’ll be invited back next year. I was really impressed with how helpful everyone was, especially the candidates who were under pressure of time and having to concentrate while I worked around them.

It was a fascinating challenge to see how to get the best angles and light the subjects in the most effective way. Welding shots are always fun as they have to be done through a welding mask (or risk permanent eye damage!), but here’s one of my favourite images showing competitor Tim Laws Chapman of FirstGroup grinding a tidy finish to his welded section in the body shop.